Things We Miss About Air Travel That We'll Never Get Again
No one who's flown in the years after the pandemic can say we're in a good moment for air travel. From rising ticket costs to longer lines at the airport to rowdy passengers attacking flight attendants, it seems like flying has become a circus.
And while we won't be stopping our jet setting ways any time soon, it's hard not to dream about a time when passengers were treated like people and you didn't have to sit with your knees up to your chin.
Ready to dream the day away with us? These are the things we miss the most about the Golden Age of Travel...and one thing we're glad is gone.
No Baggage Limits
Gather 'round, kids! Back in the day, you could bring one, even two, large bags with you for free! It sounds wild, even made up, but we swear it's true!
Now, many airlines charge even to bring a carry-on, especially if you're flying nationally. And, sure, while we've learned how to pack very light, sometimes we're nostalgic for the days when you didn't have to hack your way into bringing everything you needed without paying extra.
Amazing Live Entertainment
Did you know there used to be fashion shows and live piano bars in the sky? Since the government regulated prices for the air travel industry, airlines had to compete against each other by offering perks and the idea of a better experience. This translated into fancy cocktail lounges for economy class, live entertainment and a host of other things we could never imagine nowadays — unless you have the money to buy a first-class ticket on Singapore Airlines.
No Limit on Liquids in Your Carry-On
Pre-9/11 flying was a completely different experience. Of course, airport security existed, but it was much more lax. After the tragedy, TSA passed several measures to prevent another tragedy. One of these was limiting the amount of liquid people could bring in their carry-ons.
We definitely support making air travel safer. And having to buy TSA-approved containers for our toiletries is a small price to pay. But that doesn't mean we don't miss having no limits for liquids.
Decent Food in Economy
The next time you're forcing yourself to chew dry chicken on an airplane, remember that meals used to be cooked freshly and served with real silverware — even in economy.
Of course, tickets also used to be exorbitantly more expensive, so we'll put up with crappy in-flight meals (or the lack of meals at all) if it means saving some money.
Actual Foot Space
Did you know the average airplane seat is up to four inches smaller than it used to be?
In an attempt to earn more money and squish even more seats into planes, the industry has reduced both the width of the seats and the space between each seat and the one in front of it (called the pitch).
This often forces people to either splurge on a seat with more space or be horribly uncomfortable for hours.
You can still get free water while flying most airlines, but it is no longer a given. We wouldn't be surprised if fewer and fewer airlines offer it in the future so that eventually only business and first class get to hydrate without doling out some extra cash.
We're basically in the Titanic era of air travel.
You're reading right, tickets used to be transferable! Got sick at the last minute? Give your plane ticket to your friend instead!
It's absolutely unfathomable to imagine this happening today and we probably would rather cancel the ticket than transfer it. But it would be so cool if a cheesy rom-com could have an airport moment where a good samaritan transfers their ticket at the last minute so the love interests can end up together.
Getting To See People Off at the Gate
Speaking of rom-coms, those ridiculous scenes where someone runs to the gate to declare their love before a loved one boards the plane used to be actually feasible. We don't think anyone ever did that, but they could have if they wanted to.
You also could go right up to the gate to send people off on their journey or even wait for them straight at the gate. This changed once security measures were made stricter.
Passengers Having Common Decency
It seems like airlines aren't the ones who have left their better days behind. Passengers are decidedly more aggressive, rowdy and rude post-pandemic. It seems like every day brings a new story of passengers fighting each other, hitting flight attendants, and even screaming at babies during flights.
Things have gotten so dire that planes have had to reroute and land because of unruly passengers. We're sure fights had to have happened before, but it seems like more passengers than ever are leaving basic human decency on the ground.
What We Don't Miss: Smoking on Airplanes
For all its glamour and Dior-clad flight attendants, the Golden Age of Travel also had smoked-filled cabins where everyone stank of cigarette smoke.
We still would've loved to live other aspects of this time, but we're not sure we could've handled a transatlantic flight filled with smoke. Yuck!